[Library Media] Overdue and Lost Library Book Fees

Shay Walton Shay.Walton at loganschools.org
Wed May 10 10:43:57 MDT 2017

In a high school setting, I have found that fines do help in getting
materials back to the library for other students to be able to check
them out. I charge a very small, $0.05 fine. I send out fine notices
often and because the daily fine is so small it doesn't add up to much,
but is still an incentive for high school students to return their
items. They are charged for lost or damaged books as well. I'm very
flexible with how I collect fines however. For example: If a student has
a 35 cent fine and only has 25 cents, I often take what they have, waive
the extra, and call it good. Students who are trying to be responsible,
still get to be responsible, but it makes things more relaxed. I also
try to know my students enough that if I know that they are trying to
get books in on time but they really can't pay the fee, then I don't
charge them. If they offer to help in the library instead of paying
their fee and are comfortable about it, I take them up on that, but I
don't usually put it out there as an option myself. Students have to pay
their fees by the end of the school year to take part in final student
checkout and receive their yearbook. I waive any fees that are under
$2.00 at the end of the year, but require any that are more than that to
be paid.  


>>> Heather Novotny <hnovotny at mcgillisschool.org> 5/10/2017 10:30 AM
We don't charge fines, but parents are expected to pay for lost or
damaged materials. I personally don't think fines are a good idea in a
school library. Fines in the public library settings I've worked in were
justified internally as being necessary to secure the return of
materials, and did not have any expectation of teaching the public
responsibility. If you view fines through that lens (which I think is
professionally appropriate) then fines are unnecessary in a school
situation where all materials are called back annually. Make sense? 

What we are doing is notifying parents twice of when books are due, and
in the second notice we say you will be billed for the lost materials on
the last day of school unless you make prior arrangements with the
parents. My first notice (gently worded over a million revisions) goes
out Friday. But, the students all know that books are due at the end of
the year, and materials are already trickling in. From reports I'm
running, about 10% of our collection is currently checked out, and I've
got 84 items lost from inventory. Should be OK, right? 



Heather Novotny 
The McGillis School 
668 South 1300 East Salt Lake City, UT 84102 
hnovotny at mcgillisschool.org 

From: Sarah Herron <Sarah.Herron at slcschools.org>
To: "library-media at lists.uen.org" <library-media at lists.uen.org>
Sent: 5/10/2017 9:38 AM
Subject: [Library Media] Overdue and Lost Library Book Fees

Chris Haught from SEDC asked me a question about how UT school
libraries handle lost and/or overdue book fees. Chris said, “I searched
and found a lot of opinions and district policies, but nothing
definitive. I once was told that it was illegal to charge elementary
school students for lost books, and even fines because they were too
young to enter into a contract.” 
Any ideas on this topic? We would love to hear your input. 
Sarah Herron 
Sarah G. Herron  
Conference Chair, Utah Educational Library Media Association  
Library Technology Teacher, M. Ed.  
East High School  
840 South 1300 East
Salt Lake City, Utah 84102  
Email: sarah.herron at slcschools.org  
Phone:    801-583-1661 x2202
Fax:         801-584-2927  
"Librarians are the coolest people out there, doing the hardest job out
there on the frontlines. And every time I get to encounter or work with
librarians, I'm always impressed by their sheer awesomeness."   - Neil

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